Environmentalists and government agencies, including the Cebu Provincial Government, are closely working together to intensify efforts on protecting thresher sharks and mobula rays all over the province.
This after thresher sharks have been included in the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) with an overwhelming vote in a conference of parties last year in Johannesburg, South Africa.
CITES Appendix I is a list of endangered species, while CITES Appendix II is a list of animals that are threatened of extinction unless catching and trade of such species are strictly regulated.
Based on section 102 of Republic Act (RA) 10654 or the Amended Philippine Fisheries Code, the CITES decision officially took effect in the Philippines October 4, 2017, a year after the voting.
Thresher sharks frequent the Monad Shoal in Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan and have become part of the island’s tourist attractions.
In a press conference organized by PENRO and Greenpeace, Vince Cinches, ocean campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, said there are also sightings of thresher sharks in Moalboal and Samboan towns in southern Cebu, as well as in Amlan, Negros Oriental.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) vows to take part in the full implementation of the law and calls on others to do the same.
“The Province is committed in pursuing sustainable development and tourism to ensure that each of us will enable to sustainably benefit from the rich natural resources that our island has to offer,” said PENRO officer-in-charge Baltazar Tribunalo in a press statement.
The Provincial Board approved last year an ordinance that prohibits any individual or group to fish, take and possess shark species within provincial waters, unless a special permit is provided, stating that such activities are intended for scientific and educational purposes.
According to Cinches, there is still no national law that protects thresher sharks and all shark species.
He urged the national government to take as an example the ordinance approved by the Cebu Provincial Government and craft provisions for the protection of sharks.
With the CITES ruling, efforts to protect thresher sharks are expected to intensify since RA 10654, Section 102 (b) states that it shall be unlawful to fish, catch, gather, sell, possess, transport and export species listed in CITES Appendices II and III.
Violation of this carries the penalty of P300,000 to P3 million and an imprisonment of five to eight years.
The Cebu Provincial Government and organizations in Malapascua Island, like Save Sharks Network Philippines, has already called on the Philippine delegation and different countries to support thresher sharks Appendix II listing through the issuance of Provincial Resolution No 2014-15 September 2016.
The Philippines has over 200 shark species. Driven by annual trade value of $1 billion, humans kill about 100 million sharks every year resulting in the fast decline of their global population, as one third of these species are already threatened with extinction.
According to Larona of TSPS, shark meat here in Cebu is priced at P18 per kilo while its dried fin is mostly sold at P3 thousand to P5 thousand per kilo, depending on the quality.
Also present during the press conference at the Capitol were Josefina Flores from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR); Steve Vincent Larona of DENR’s Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS); and David Joyce, a dive resort owner in Malapascua Island.
Capitol Launches Youth Reporters Corps
Close to 80 youths from different towns and cities in Cebu province participated in a seminar-workshop organized by the Provincial Government that aims to empower the youth to take part in nation-building by learning how to be bearers of good news.
Dubbed as the Capitol Youth Reporters Corps seminar-workshop, the 3-day event organized by the Provincial Information Office, in partnership with the Provincial Youth Commission, was jam-packed with different activities.
Among the activities were discussions from speakers from the media industry who shared their expertise in their respective fields.
The speakers included Ainjeliz de la Torre-Orong for News Writing; DYAB’s Angelica Saniel for Radio Broadcasting; Vic Kintanar for photojournalism; ABS-CBN’s Joworski Alipon for TV Broadcasting; Max Limpag for Writing for Social Media; and Jason Baguia for Media Ethics.
Social media star Dave “Dodong Dave” Quirante also shared to the youth participants his experience in social media.
Marie Leolie Ursal, 18, from Barili town, said she learned a lot from the workshop, particularly on how to effectively make use of the broadcast medium.
Another participant, 20-year-old Alvin Duazo, said they hope to apply their learnings in the workshop as they look for different kinds of stories in their respective municipalities.
“We wish to replicate this in our town to level up awareness in multi-media communication,” said Duazo, vice president of the Consolacion Youth Organization (CYO).
Floreza Alpuerto, PIO’s supervising officer who represented the information office’s OIC Mark Tolentino, said the aim to have a Capitol Youth Reporters Corps is to build the capacity of the youth from the grassroots to gather, prepare, and report news according to journalistic standards.
Youth reporters who will show “exemplary diligence and commitment to delivering news about development in their localities” will be recognized monthly and in an awarding ceremony by the end of year, said Alpuerto.
In his message to the youth, Bhobby Nacorda, head of the Provincial Human Resource Management Office, urged the youth to make use of their talents and skills in the best way.
Nacorda quoted writer Ivern Ball, saying “Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch,” and encouraged the youth to find their sense of purpose, which in this case he said is to be guardians of the truth.
Anthony Dacalos, the Planning and Operations head of the Provincial Youth Commission, said that the activity with PIO is just one of their many partnerships with different offices and agencies to ensure that they can provide as many activities to the youth as possible.
Dacalos, who represented PYC’s head James Canoy during the workshop, assured that they have more projects in the pipeline for the youth of Cebu.
Just a week before the Capitol Youth Reporters Corps training, the PYC also launched a campaign on responsible use of social media.
DepEd Receives Computer Equipment from BPOs
Seven schools in Cebu received the initial batch of computer units from the business process outsourcing (BPO) companies based here in this city.
This is part of the Malasakit Tech2Teach program which provides computer units to public schools in far-flung areas to help implement the Department of Education (DepEd) computer education program.
According to Engr. Roberto Varquez, consultant of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), these schools were pre-identified by DepEd.
He said this initiative came up after they learned that the BPO companies change their computer units from time to time and it ended up being unused.
“We found it sayang. Workable pa ang units. OPAV thought of utilizing this,” he told reporters in an interview.
DepEd has identified the end-users as those that are in Grade levels 4, 5, and 6 since computerization program of the department is limited only to high school.
Varquez revealed that elementary schools are only provided with six computer units for their use.
The seven schools in Central Visayas are among the 20 schools initially identified by OPAV to become recipients.
Varquez said they intend to give 1,000 units for the first phase and another 1,000 units for the following year.
On Monday afternoon, the DepEd Central Visayas Regional Director Juliet Jeruta received the initial computer units from companies Tech Mahindra, Qualfon, and Accenture in a ceremonial turnover done in the presence of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Cabinet officials including DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones.
DSWD 7 jump-starts 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration
The Department of Social Welfare and Development Office (DSWD) Field Office 7 through its Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) held an opening salvo of the 2018 Adoption Consciousness Celebration with the theme “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin!” (Spread unconditional love through Legal Adoption).
Around 200 individuals coming from different participating agencies and child caring agencies have attended the kick-off activity on Monday, February 13, 2018 which comprises a motorcade that started from Plaza Independencia on the way to SM City Cebu where the opening program was held.
During the program, there were also series of dance and song presentations of children from different partner child caring agencies such as the Asilo de la Milagrosa, Albert Schweitzer Familienwerk Foundation, Franciscan’s Children Home and NORFIL foundation.
Assistant Regional Director for Operations Shalaine Marie Lucero during her welcome remarks for the opening salvo of Adoption Consciousness Celebration 2018, encouraged all parents to start educating their children the value and importance of adoption. This is to help adopted children in school or in the community to be completely accepted and understood by other children.
“Many of the communities are still not able to accept and understand adoption. This is why it is important that parents should be advocates in promoting the value and importance of adoption to their children and other people in the community,” said ARDO Lucero.
ARDO Lucero has also expressed gratitude to foster parents and adoptive parents who bravely took the challenge in providing a nurturing environment to adoptees conducive to their physical, mental, social and emotional health growth.
DSWD 7 have successfully placed a number of children into legal adoption, locally and internationally.
Two adoptees of the successful child placements that DSWD 7 have made had their inspiring testimonies during the short program of the opening salvo.
An adopted child also positively highlighted during her testimony that with the nurturing environment of adoptive families, being an adopted child doesn’t make you any less loved nor does it make you any different from those children living with their biological parents.
As DSWD VII celebrates Adoption Consciousness Week, the department strongly aims to encourage couples interested in adopting a child to visit the field office, undergo the legal process of adoption and avoid simulated birth adoption to stand with the theme: “Spread unconditional love through legal adoption.”
New Digital Radio Equipment to Address Communication Problem in Cebu City Police Force
Communication for police operations in the far-flung areas in Cebu City will no longer be a concern after the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) received a new set of digital radio system from a Chinese donor.
CCPO Director Senior Supt. Joel Doria told reporters in an interview that this will now address their problem in communicating with their police force assigned in the mountain barangays.
He specifically made mention of their detachments in Agsungot, Sudlon, and Busay, where they previously encountered difficulty in reaching them due to the absence of mobile signal in the said areas.
“Considering po na wala tayong signal ng cellphone at saka yung mga radio natin hindi nila kaya, ito pong dinonate nila are digital radio Hytera, very effective kahit na nasa mountain barangay tayo at saka nasa city. Kaya yun (Considering that we don’t have any cellphone signal in the area and our existing radios do not have this capability, these donated digital radio with brand name Hytera, are very effective even if you are located in a mountain barangay and we are here in the city. It is capable to do that),” Doria said.
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